There's an update coming for the Apple HomePod, and word is that it will add home cinema sound to the Siri smart speaker's list of skills. When paired with Apple TV 4K, the HomePod will be able to decode Dolby Atmos tracks, as well as 5.1- and 7.1-channel audio.
According to The Verge (opens in new tab), Apple has already confirmed that these features are on their way to the Apple HomePod in the near future but, sadly, not the recently announced Apple HomePod mini, which doesn't have the same spatial awareness ability.
We look forward to seeing how Apple's 'Home Cinema with Apple TV 4K' processing creates the promised 7.1 and 5.1 effects. Doubtless, the 360-degree arrangement of the HomePod's seven tweeters and single upward-firing woofer will help with the sense of surround and the height that Atmos demands.
While you may think it seems a bit improbable that such TV sound will be much to write home about, there are plenty of soundbars that manage to do some very successful things with surround virtualisation. What's more, the Amazon Echo Studio already offers something along these lines, offering a height-inclusive 3D soundstage that is pretty effective.
Apple has implied that these effects will work best when two HomePods are used as a stereo pair, however Atmos will still be possible with just the one device.
The Dolby Atmos update comes as part of a push for better communication between Apple's smart devices. We'll update you when it lands.
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